Customer support the Ubuntu way

Recently, I have realized a major difference in how customer support is done on Ubuntu.

As you know, Canonical provides official customer support for Ubuntu both on server and desktop. This is the work I do : provice customer with the best level of support on the Ubuntu distribution.  This is also what I was doing on my previous job, but for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server distributions.

The major difference that I recently realized is that, unlike my previous work with RHEL & SLES, the result of my work is now available to the whole Ubuntu community, not just to the customers that may for our support.

Here is an example. Recently one of our customer identified a bug with vm-builder in a very specific case.  The work that I did on this bug resulted in a patch that I submitted to the developers who accepted its inclusion in the code. In my previous life, this fix would have been made available only to customers paying a subscription to the vendors through their official update or service pack services.

With Ubuntu, through Launchpad and the regular community activity, this fix will become available to the whole community through the standard -updates channel of our public archives.

This is true for the vast majority of the fixes that are provided to our customers. As a matter of fact, the public archives are almost the only channel that we have to provide fixes to our customers, hence making them available to the whole Ubuntu community at the same time.  This is different behavior and something that makes me a bit prouder of the work I’m doing.

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4 réponses à Customer support the Ubuntu way

  1. Pedro dit :

    I thought the fix on the other ones would be submitted upstream as well?

  2. caribou dit :

    Hi Pedro,

    what do you mean by « the other ones » ? Usually, fixes that do impact the upstream code are pushed toward their upstream counterparts, but those are free to accept them or not.

  3. Pedro dit :

    On RHEL and SLES the fix you’d make would be avaiable immediately to all RHEL/SLES paying members using RHEL/SLES and submitted upstream.

    On Ubuntu the fix you’d make would be avaiable immediately to all Ubuntu users and submitted upstream.

    Since the Enterprise Edition of Ubuntu is the same, but not on RHEL/SLES, I’m not following your point of view.

    The fix is, after all, made available to anyone using the version affected.
    The difference is RHEL != Fedora and SLES != openSUSE, while Ubuntu == Ubuntu .

    Plus I *guess* patches available to RHEL will find their way to Fedora/Fedora Rawhide. Or not?

  4. caribou dit :

    Hello Pedro,

    The fix is, after all, made available to anyone using the version affected.
    The difference is RHEL != Fedora and SLES != openSUSE, while Ubuntu == Ubuntu .

    This is exactly what I meant to outline. So we agree.

    What I meant by my upstream comment that « counterparts are free to accept or not » is with regard to Debian which is « Upstream » in most case for Ubuntu.

    The Debian developers are free to accept them or not.

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